An Alderman in Green Bay, Wisconsin is pushing for the city, and the state, to adopt similar measures to the Federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The Federal Act allows employers to opt-out of mandates or laws which would violate their religious beliefs. However, the Act does not apply at a state or city government level, and Alderman Joe Moore intends to change that. Mr. Moore is advocating that religious freedom in Green Bay places of worship be reinforced. However, he is likely to meet a challenge from other Wisconsin groups who aim to undermine religious freedom in the state and country.
Moore’s aim is to allow pastors and other clergy to speak their mind on socially relevant issues without fear of government repercussions. This idea is in response to the subpoena of church documents in Houston, where the city overstepped its bounds in calling for ministers and church leaders to turn over their speeches and sermons in a State effort to exercise control over the Church. Moore would like to prevent such a thing from happening in Green Bay, and in Wisconsin as a whole. His opposition states that the First Amendment protects the rights of these same pastors through the Right to Freedom of Speech, but it is the First Amendment’s Right to Freedom of Religion that is on the line here.
Until the Government – at all levels – recognizes that pastors, ministers, priests, and other religious leaders in the United States are the very basis for practicing religion freely in a country founded on Freedom, there will continue to be clashes between those who seek to destroy Religious Freedom and those who seek to uphold the Rights guaranteed by the Constitution. Measures, such as the one proposed by Alderman Moore, seek to achieve a balance between the Right to feely practice religion and the separation of Church and State in the U.S. This balance has become prominent recently, and it is obviously something which needs to be addressed. Yet, in lawsuits and hearings across the country, the lines are becoming clearer, especially in favor of Religious Freedom. But there is still work to be done in order to firmly establish what is meant by Freedom of Religion.